8 Tips for How to Take Your Dog on a Boat for the First Time

how to get dog on boat

For every beach lover, going on a boat is one of the exciting and thrilling experiences, especially when the weather is sunny and the sea is looking good. Even for a person who likes to enjoy carefree moments under the sun, a boat ride can get the job done. The trip would get more exciting if you have a good companion or say your darling dog, without whom your life remains incomplete.

If your dog is among those who love water and can spend the whole day playing in it, then you can smoothly go for a boat ride. But, what you should not forget is to take appropriate measures apart from the basics offered by the boat service. Boat ride with a dog is always risky and concerning at the same time because the chances are that your dog might not like the idea of sitting at one place on a boat. Or, he might want to play some games, which you cannot do on the boat. So, the thing that gets important is the preparation for this ride and the aspects that should always be in the list are:

  • Investment in the best dog life jacket.
  • Make sure that your dog doesn’t drink water from the sea or lake.
  • Find a sunscreen for your dog.
  • Do something for the time when your dog needs to relieve it.

Factors Affecting the Choice of a Life jacket for Your Dog

Once you decide to bring your dog on a boat ride, consider the following elements to select the right life jacket for him:

  • Lifting handles: For safe and comfortable retrieving
  • Color: Always go for bright colors to find out your dog in the crowd
  • Fit: It should fit properly. Check in the store before buying
  • Comfort: Make sure that the buckles and straps do not irritate the dog

Now that you have got the safety gear, it’s now time to learn a few essential tips of how to make sure that your dog will enjoy the tour and remains safe:

1. Learn Basic Commands

Make sure that your dog understands basic commands before the ride. Apart from fetching, staying and sitting, practice different commands like ‘heel’ to not get close to the edge.

Don’t go for the ride until your dog starts to behave well otherwise; you might have a hard time keeping him safe on the boat.

2. Test the Environment


After your dog learns the basic commands, he would start to respond accordingly without fail, thereby proving himself ready for the boat ride. Also, you should not be too rigid; let him sniff around the area so that he can understand the environment and transform himself accordingly.

If you are going on a large boat, then it is recommended to restrict your dog to the top deck initially so that he can get an idea of the terrain and learn how to move when the boat is docked. Meanwhile, you can allow him to gain his sea legs and plan something exciting with him. After he gets used to the movement and floating of the boat, you can freely take him to any stairwell or area for further exploration.

3. Watch-Out for Slippery Areas

Since the boats have textured floors on most of the vessels, you don’t have to worry about slipping in any way. These textures are designed to hold human shoes and feet so that they do not fall. But, when it comes to your dog, some surfaces might cause trouble in one way the other. Your responsibility is to avoid using booties or any sort of cover on his paws- let him walk barefoot so that he can feel the deck of the vessel and learn to maintain his grip firmly.

Since it will be the first boat ride for your dog, keep yourself prepared to handle a slippery adventure. You cannot be sure about the textured floors being non-slippery and, therefore, take appropriate measures to deal with the other side of the story. Bring dog boating accessories and a leash and keep them with you as they might be needed at any time.

4. Find a Bathroom Spot

Just like you, he also needs to go potty whenever he wants. So, to avoid getting into a messy and embarrassing situation, find or prepare a bathroom for your dog. Choose an appropriate corner, buy some grass patches having canine-attraction on them.

Once you are done, guide your dog about the place and keep an eye on whenever he wants to go potty. You will have to guide him to the spot a few times, and once he learns the directions, his instinct will bring him to that spot directly.

After he is done, be sure to clean the patch because he would want to mess-up with a clean space again, and if the spot is dirty, he might relieve somewhere else. Make sure that you don’t leave any large items there.


5. Find the Suitable Dog Life Jackets

One of the important things to prepare for your dog’s first time is his life jacket. If you want your dog in a boat to behave well without causing trouble, then you should be breeding him healthy so that he has a swimmer’s body. Long neck and legs to stretch while swimming can keep him happy throughout his time in the water.

Though, you should first check the breed or specie of your dog because some are not meant to swim in any way. Tiny, short, and squat breeds may have a hard time in the water. So, it’s better to be careful about this aspect.

The key is to choose bright colors for dog life vest with buckles that can secure his torso. Ideally, look for an option that has an insulation feature as it maintains a dog’s body temperature. If your dog falls into the water, teach him how to float until you dive in for help. It doesn’t matter how good swimmer he would be; things might turn against you in a minute. In this situation, a dog life jacket can come in rescue as it will keep the dog floating.

6. Do Some Practice

Before getting on-board, practice boating with your dog and see how he would respond, take him to a pool or a lake and let him take a dip into the water. If needed, go before him and wait until he follows you. This activity aims to see your dog’s response in the water. If he is comfortable, now you can start teaching him how to swim and protect himself if something goes wrong on the boat.

See if your dog is comfortable with paddling and how he would react in a situation where there is nothing but water in his surroundings. If he is uncomfortable, you will have to be around him every second so that if anything goes wrong, you will be available for his help.

7. Keep Emergency Contact Details

Since you will be riding a boat with one of your dearest friends, it’s necessary always to be ready for emergencies. Don’t forget to keep emergency contact numbers with you along with the business card of the vet and save all of them on your cellphone as well.

You can call either of them at any time from anywhere at the time of need. Though create a contingency plan for a situation when your dog falls into the water or anything wrong happens on the boat.

dogs on boats tips

8. Always Observe

Riding a boat with your dog needs extra care and attention at every single minute. Even though he might enjoy the whole experience, you cannot always keep him safe from the dangers. Keep an eye on his movements or, ideally, be with him all the time without causing hindrance in his sailing adventure.

Prepare a leash for any situation or issue, be it high waves, so that they don’t leave adverse effects on your dog. Observe him from a visual distance and reduce the chances of water troubles around him.


Now that you are aware of the tips to take your dog on a boat, it would be quite easy to plan for a trip without having to worry about his safety.

You can also take help from professional dog trainers to learn more tips on how to train your dog for this boat trip.

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